Consignment, resale, thrift or retail? Can you tell the difference? Most likely not!
Today the brick & mortar stores and online shops look very much like mainstream retailers. So how can you tell the difference? It all comes down designer brands, lower prices, and quality.
Today’s consignment shopper is savvy. They know what they want, where to look for it and that it is good for the environment. They also understand that the word ‘consignment’ does not mean used and has nothing to do with the condition of an item. Consigning Women had a brick & mortar store for 10 years and consignment was the way we conducted our business. Today our online shop continues to operate in the same manner selling both pre-owned and new with tags designer handbags, jewelry and accessories.
The resale business is a growing segment of retail that is expected to outpace fast fashion within the next 10 years. The mindset of consumers is changing and if they can find high-quality designer/luxury brands for less than retail, they will choose pre-owned. This is a compelling change for the retail industry and points to the environmental challenges that all consumer brands are faced with today.
So if you are wondering what some of the second-hand terminology means here is the official distinction from The Association of Resale Professionals also known as NARTS.
A consignment shop accepts merchandise on a consignment basis, paying the owners of the merchandise a percentage when and if the items are sold.
A resale shop is the phrase most often used for stores that buy their merchandise outright from individual owners, like a vintage store. A consignment or thrift shop can also be called a resale shop, but ONLY a store that actually consigns their inventory can be called a consignment store, and ONLY a store run by a Not for Profit organization is considered a thrift.
A thrift shop is run by a Not for Profit organization to raise money to fund their charitable causes. These range from the large Salvation Army / Goodwill chains to individual school, church or hospital thrift shops. Not for Profits can obtain goods through donations or they could operate on a consignment basis—some do both.
Whether you call it pre-owned or used, second-hand is just the better choice for the whole wide world.
Association of Resale Professionals
Ethical Consumer – Fashion and Clothing